Terrain-Aware Military Planning Agents


  • Robert Kewley simlytics.cloud LLC
  • Wes Milks
  • Chris McGroarty
  • Tim Aris




Terrain is important, often decisive, in military battles. This concept recurs across numerous historical examples, military theorists, and doctrinal manuals used by armies around the world. This poster discusses how Mission Command Agents, automated agents used to represent the behaviors of military forces in combat simulations, achieve this understanding of the importance of terrain. First, a review of tactical manuals from different nations consistently identified the importance of terrain to observation, fires, and mobility. Based on the unit’s mission, the geography afforded, or prevented, these activities with respect to the enemy force. The next step was to build an automated tool that could quickly calculate these effects based on the anticipated positions. The third step was to formulate these quantifiable terrain effects as objectives in a multi-objective search heuristic so that different places could be compared with each other. After excellent results with these techniques in a realistic military planning scenario, the team is further enhancing human-machine collaboration in this area by adding geospatial and military characteristics of terrain to an existing standard for Command and Control – Simulation Interoperation (C2SIM). With this enhancement, the reasoning employed by the agents is more explainable to military observers. It also allows military experts to adjust agent behaviors by adjusting their goals, without the need to change source code, while employing a user interface that they will be familiar with.




How to Cite

Robert Kewley, Milks, W., McGroarty, C., & Aris, T. (2024). Terrain-Aware Military Planning Agents. The International FLAIRS Conference Proceedings, 37(1). https://doi.org/10.32473/flairs.37.1.135800